9

Web sites of companies offering products or services show a link or button asking you to request them to call you back.
It's usually presented in a very prominent way, for example a red button labeled "Request a call back!" that stays fixed on an edge of the pages.


If I see such a button, I'm wondering why should I wait for them to call? If I want to talk, I'll call myself.

If they want to talk to me, I would expect they would at least show me the number to call with that button as alternative. That's not allways the case - which indicated that it's not the main point that they want to talk to me.

The button would make sense if it would be shown only as an alternative to the phone number at times of the day when I can not call them myself. I did not check, but assume that's not the case. (If it is, it's confusing at least, as indicated by this question.)


I do understand the aspect of the button to grab my attention by commanding me to do something. I'm not asking about all that would allso apply to a "Call us at 000-000000!" buton.
The call to action makes sense; Trying to talk to me personally makes lots of sense, at least with a complex and low volume product or product range.


But why should I want to wait for them? It's not even obvious how long! And if I'm curious enough now, that does not mean I'm still later.


As an example, http://trotec-leipzig.de, which offers laser cutting machines, has a button "We call you back." (German: "Wir rufen sie zurueck.") at the right edge of each page.
Pressing the button shows a form requesting some details (curiously most are mandatory).

request-callbackscreen-crop

The screenshot shows that form iin German language;
The labels translate to "Callback form", "Get in contact with us:", "Name", "Phone", "email", "At which time would you like to be called?" (to choose a day of the week, and a time range of the day), "Subject", and "Zip code/City".

At the same time, it shows the button, just as ono any other page.
The form was reached by pressing a button like this on a dfferent page. On this page, it does not actually make sense - except to show you how it looks without a separate screenshot.

  • As an example, trotec-leipzig.de has a button "We call you back." (German: "Wir rufen sie zurueck.") at the right edge. – Volker Siegel Apr 20 '15 at 20:59
  • I remember the first time I saw this in 1999. It had a drop-down to choose when you wanted to be called. I picked 'now'. It all seemed a little too good to be true, and I wasn't really expecting a prompt response, so my little mind was duly blown when my desk phone began to ring within two seconds. Sadly I was brought back down to earth equally quickly when I heard the on-hold message and music kick in. – Ergwun Apr 21 '15 at 3:59
  • 1
    @Ergwun Wow, being called to wait on the phone is really not what I would expect... or like. Bad enough to make me wait. But actively creating a "bussy waiting" situation for me for no apparent reason... – Volker Siegel Apr 21 '15 at 4:51
  • Yeah, there were other options for when to be called, but the 'now' option really eliminates any benefit to the user (business still benefits by capturing your phone number). – Ergwun Apr 21 '15 at 5:30
10

I've implemented such services at the request of clients and I currently work with a company that offers it as part of their software. In the right circumstances, it's a highly successful feature. Here's what I can tell you.

Call me when you're ready to talk

No one wants to sit on hold, get bounced from one department to another, or deal with some gateway receptionist. That's what the "we'll call you" feature is all about.

You'll go into a queue for qualified sales or service staff. You'll be treated well by this team because they know what you want. They also know how to convert well. The net result is better service for customers and higher conversion for the business.

It's not for everyone

This is for a high-consideration market where voice channel is still the most profitable route to a conversion. The product or service in question usually requires discussion with the customer to customize or build confidence in a big purchase. These markets require a well-trained call staff, one that gets a pretty good commission.

There are plenty of markets that do just fine with limited use of the voice channel. If a call is necessary, it's the exception and the user/customer can call in to a routing number.

  • 3
    "No one wants to sit on hold" = that's the entire answer right there. – DA01 Apr 21 '15 at 1:54
3

It's about them, not you

The design logic goes something like this:

  1. Sales calls can be time intensive and unpredictable since different customers will have different needs, and call load can vary a lot with time of day, advertising campaigns, etc.

  2. Most businesses don't have the luxury of hiring excess staff to sit around waiting for calls. Labor is often the most expensive cost in a business, so call staffing is run lean. As a result, it's hard to predict how long a customer might have to wait.

  3. Therefore, the typical design choices are:

    • Call the customer back
    • Have the customer wait on hold
    • Don't offer phone service
    • Hire more staff
  4. The last option is best, but many businesses can't afford it. Not offering phone service risks losing sales for many types of products and services which can't be sold in a self-service manner.

  5. If a customer is interested in buying a product, it creates an negative impression if the first point of contact with a customer is after she's been waiting for a long time.

Therefore, the call-back approach is often selected as the best compromise among crappy alternatives.

It avoids the psychologically taxing hold on the phone for the customer while allowing the business to load-balance resources

  • 1
    Actually, I've seen the 'call back' featured used successfully in businesses with well-staffed, low wait time call centers. The trick is to use the feature where an important conversion may be on the line, not the run of the mill orders. In the best implementations, the user leaves a short message with their number and just the right agent gets back to them with useful answers. Much better than the standard in-bound call routing set up. – plainclothes Apr 21 '15 at 16:14
  • Interesting. I haven't seen that setup before (deliberate wait) but I agree it could be effective in a scenario where the customer would otherwise have to wait for an agent to do some research – tohster Apr 21 '15 at 16:25
3

Another benefit not mentioned:

The company pays for the call, not you.

So it’s a nice offer, especially for international customers.

In case an international telephone number is entered (or in case of multilingual regions), it would make sense to also ask for language, which would allow the company to let an employee, who is proficient in that language, make the call.

(In case the location is entered, the time zone might be obvious; if it’s not entered, or if multiple time zones apply, users should also enter their time zone, so that the company can time the call accordingly.)

1

If you offer a send an email, contact with forms, phone us, visit us, talk to us on facebook or twitter and so on.. Why not propose a give your phone number. Some visitor maybe shy to call for support and will accept easier if you call back. It could be too for cost off the call in local or international, or if the visitor is in a company who block outgoing calls...

Maybe the button don't make sense for you as a customer, but as a business, you need to offer every option you can to transform a visitor into a customer.

A visitor who give you his phone number, and the time of the day you could reach him back is a REAL good lead for your sales team.

  • 1
    I agree about always enabling customer contact, but I don't see how the customer's shyness comes into play one way or the other. – DA01 Apr 21 '15 at 1:55
  • Some people are just afraid to take a phone and do a call. – ColdCat Apr 21 '15 at 8:30
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    That's likely true of a few folks but how is calling significantly different than answering in that regard? Is this actually a statistically significant population? – DA01 Apr 21 '15 at 16:14
  • Call, listen to recorded message, press 1, listen to menu option press 3, listen to music til someone on the phone vs push button call me back at 16. – ColdCat Apr 23 '15 at 18:15
  • I meant how is it significantly different in the context of shyness? – DA01 Apr 23 '15 at 18:17
1

This is based on my personal experience:

Normal flow:

1. Dial number
2. Press 1 for english language, press 2 for Hindi language, press 3 for...
3. Press 1 if you are an existing customer, press 2 for new customer.. blah blah blah
4. enter your customer ID etc and press # .. blah blah blah..
5.  wait till the time our customer care executives are busy on another cal.. blah blah blah..

this whole process is so frustrating..

Instead - Call me back flow

1. just enter name and number and you receive a call from customer care executive

it saves good amount of time and improve user experience.

0

I think they simply want to be in control of when to call you.

I actually have never seen anything like that, but I'd imagine they have a follow-up form to ask for your number with with a few questions so they can prepare a specific pitch.

Or maybe they just don't have a call center and they get lots of call daily. If you call there's a high chance you'd have to wait, or the call wouldn't connect.

  • It's primarily so the customer doesn't have to sit on hold. – DA01 Apr 21 '15 at 1:56
  • @DA01 yeah man that's what i said – d4rek Apr 21 '15 at 18:30
  • Well, yes, you did, but I'm saying that is the reason above and beyond 'wanting to have control of when to call you'. This is a feature that puts the time-to-call primarily in the customers hands. It doesn't necessarily benefit the company directly--but does benefit the customer directly. (it, of course, should benefit the company indirectly with happier customers). – DA01 Apr 21 '15 at 19:10
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    I should add...my statement is based on a call-back system where the customer has some say in when they want the call back (typically either 'ASAP' or based on a preferred time). If, on the other hand, this is a system where the company decides when to call you back, then I'd agree with your statement...though I'd argue that makes for a rather poor customer UX. – DA01 Apr 21 '15 at 19:12
  • ah, got it. Yes, I agree the experience is not as good if the user's not in control of when they get called back. – d4rek Apr 21 '15 at 20:08

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